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Wireless network brings immediate benefits


5 August 2004

Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s wireless network brings immediate benefits

In a joint endeavour between Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, MediaLab South Pacific, Catalyst and Link IT, the largest wireless LAN in New Zealand now covers the Hawke’s Bay Hospital campus in Hastings. Over the past five months Hawke’s Bay District Health Board have been installing and testing a wireless LAN (Local Area Network), and in the process have developed a platform that is set to deliver huge gains for staff and patients.

Says Chris Clarke, chief executive officer “It was important that we thoroughly tested this system to ensure it provided a secure electronic platform from which we can deliver patient and medical information at the bedside. Now the wireless network is in place some innovative changes in practice are underway, all of which are designed to deliver more efficient and effective services.”

One of the first new applications is an electronic bed management system which goes live this week, and will see staff with PC touch screen tablets (portable computing devices) able to order a bed and review bed and patient status reports from anywhere on the campus.

“Over the peak winter months there is heavy demand for beds – so it is important we have a bed management system that makes sure we are making the best use of every bed. The new system will ‘shorten the queue’ for patients needing a hospital bed and save time spent by staff on the phone coordinating between different services in assessing free bed space,” says Chris Clarke.

And while other developments are already in the pipeline, such as mobile food and menu management, the last word goes to one of HBDHB’s anaesthetists, Dr Peter Lloyd, and one of the first beneficiaries of the wireless environment.

‘What do I think of the new wireless environment? Superb, absolutely superb. As a consultant I am constantly moving between theatre, clinics and my office. I prefer to use a Macintosh laptop and am now able to be anywhere and access important information from that one machine. From my end of the operating table I can now review patient notes and test results, from the office I can access the DHB’s library services. The DHB’s IT team have been outstanding in getting this whole system up and running, and made it easier and more convenient for me to do my job – and that is a big plus for my patients, says Dr Lloyd.”

The DHB has committed $412K to this development which is spread over nine months of installation, testing and training.”


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